The Kenyan music scene isn’t just one thing it is one of the most vibrant, with multiple genres and numerous artists trying to capture a sizeable share of the market. If one plays their cards right, win fans’ hearts and, of course, get a high demand, they get good airplay. As a result, the environment is fast-changing, and music genres seem to mutate and fuse. This phenomenon has elevated some artists to a new level, outselling their counterparts by achieving mainstream success.
Today we had an exclusive chance to interview fast rising talented Kenyan musical duo known as Funk Avenue.
Bringing fresh and new vibes into the Kenyan scene, Funk Avenue is a fast-rising Kenyan music group composed of two talented rappers Dennis Karanja popularly known as Twist, and Simon Muturi better known as Simz formed in 2017.
The two are Kenyan rappers, songwriters & entrepreneurs deeply rooted in the Kenyan hip-hop scene. They are regarded as one of the most versatile & unique artists to grace the Kenyan music industry.
Ever since Funk Avenue broke into the music scene in 2017, the duo has released quite a number of projects in which are available on all the digital streaming platforms. Their most recent project is called NGORI which is receiving massive airplay both on radio & Tv stations.
Furthermore, they are on course to release their first debut album by the name NOW WE BREAK BREAD which is eagerly anticipated by the fans far and wide.
Most notably, they are without a doubt the future of Kenyan music because of the well-written, catchy choruses and punchline flow they deliver.
Funk Avenue’s dreams & ambitions are to export the Kenyan sound to the international scene which will therefore open more opportunities for up & coming artists in the country.
QUESTION: Kindly Introduce yourself who is Funk Avenue?
FUNK AVENUE: Funk avenue is a duo consisting of Simz & Twist but with all honesty, we wouldn’t be who we are without our friends who show us mad support by sharing our music and not forgetting two of the most talented producers in Kenya Igamba Mbiu and Shaqdeffonit.
QUESTION: Tell us about how you got started as a musical duo. Do you remember when you discovered that you could come together as a musical duo?
FUNK AVENUE: as a duo, 3 years ago but we were recording music like 6 years ago with three other amazing artists but it wasn’t consistent coz deep down we knew we make better music as a duo. how we discovered we could come together? well, 6 years ago, it was Twizzy’s birthday, he played the pound cake instrumental and we both started freestyling over the beat, and that’s when we realized that we need to hit the studio and record. we had to juggle music and school now. we made that decision from that moment and the rest is history.
QUESTION: What does your musical duo name mean?
FUNK AVENUE: Funk avenue is a movement. It was just a random name because initially, we came up with so many names for a music group but Funk Avenue was just it. We loved how it sounded very unique to us and the fans at large.
Funk – means a Vibe
Avenue – where we come from limuru (the 115)
QUESTION: When you decide it’s time to make a new record, is that more exciting or stressful?
FUNK AVENUE: It’s always more exciting. the stressful bit only comes when we start criticizing ourselves and our music keeping our supporters in mind and if that’s what they want.
QUESTION: For our readers who have never heard of your music, explain your sound in 5 words?
FUNK AVENUE: Authentic, wavy, genre-bending, awe-inspiring, vibe.
QUESTION: When you’re making art and something doesn’t work, do you stay open, and reassess and reapproach?
FUNK AVENUE: if it doesn’t work, we scrap it off then start afresh.
QUESTION: You’re so raw and real in your music and on social media. What gives you the confidence to be that vulnerable with fans and the whole world?
FUNK AVENUE: If the fans don’t like you for who you are then it’s fugazi and it might come to bite you in the future when they realize the real you. we live in an era where people fake it for other people’s approval on social media and we try to show everyone that you can be yourself and still be winning. msanii ni kioo cha jamii, if it ain’t real, you go against what it means to be an artist to the community.
QUESTION: What can you tell us about your new song “Ngori”?
FUNK AVENUE: this is us outside our comfort zone to show the fans and the industry our diversity when it comes to making music and if anybody want it they can pull up. we really use the pen out here, kaa ni ngori basi kam!
QUESTION: How was it like working with Omoke in your latest video ‘Ngori’?
FUNK AVENUE: It’s always a great experience working with Omoke. He’s mostly calm, collected, and full of mad ideas. if you listen to him closely, you realize his big vision and ambition, and that’s something we really look at when we wanna work with a person. energies have to align and ambition has to match if we gotta work together.
QUESTION: How has your creative process changed or evolved as we’ve ebbed and flowed from total lockdown to reentering the world?
FUNK AVENUE: as much as the total lockdown wasn’t fair to the people, their businesses, and finances, I think it was a great opportunity for creatives to tap into their creativity and create more. we evolved through it and created more, albums on the way. as we reenter the world, we hope to get more shows and exposure.
QUESTION: Who are some of your icons or inspirations musically?
FUNK AVENUE: Nyashinski & Ksouth. Khaligraph Jones(we’ve watched him since the WAPI days, sarakasi dome events up to now and that makes us believe that it’s possible to get to where we want and even further), Karun and Fena Gitu. (these two women have been relevant for 10+ years in a male-dominated industry and they still make amazing music while at it. Bro, if that doesn’t inspire you, you’re just a hater).
QUESTION: How do you balance your music with other obligations?
FUNK AVENUE: At first it was really tough because of where we used to work and where the studio was but we’ve managed to juggle comfortably. it all goes down to planning properly and not wasting time while at it. Time is precious and bills gotta get paid.
QUESTION: What’s your motto or the advice you live by?
FUNK AVENUE: live, learn, grow and liberate ourselves and others. we also believe we’re the best at what we do and we deserve the best things in life.
QUESTION: What are some of the challenges you have encountered in the Kenyan music industry as a musical duo? How have you been able to overcome those challenges?
FUNK AVENUE: the main challenge is airplay, shows, and conforming to the industry type of music in Kenya. we’ve created our own sound and we believe the challenges are moulding us into better artists. we believe the cake is big enough and the industry is ours for the taking.
QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
FUNK AVENUE: filling up arenas and sold-out shows in Kenya and Abroad.
QUESTION: Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to start as a musical duo or just advice about careers in general?
FUNK AVENUE: find someone who’s goals align with yours. make sure you have chemistry or make each other better and that way you’ll reach greater heights. keyword is patience, good things take time.
QUESTION: Any closing words?
FUNK AVENUE: first of all, thank you for this opportunity, it’s a great feeling to reflect on ourselves and connect with our fans and everyone who supports Funk Avenue. more amazing music and new sounds on the way. Funk avenue to the world, straight from the 115, Now We Break Bread! Bless up!